Time to see what the restyled Rainbow Warriors look like against someone else.
While Hawaii scrimmaged BYU-Hawaii last week at the Stan Sheriff Center, that was closed to the public and the media, and the teams aren’t allowed by rule to talk about the competition afterward. This one will be bared for all to see — in person, anyway.
Today’s 7 p.m. meeting against the Silverswords (no TV, no radio) is also “Zombie Apocalypse Night.”
Two UH players projected to start earlier in the preseason, guard Isaac Fleming and forward Mike Thomas, are doubtful to play today. Fleming appeared as a spectator at Wednesday’s practice but coach Eran Ganot said his status on leave for personal matters has not changed. It’s possible he could watch tonight from the end of the bench. Thomas, meanwhile, was sidelined Wednesday with a strained meniscus.
Quincy Smith has practiced as the starting shooting guard in Fleming’s absence and newcomer Sai Tummala was in for Thomas wearing a green (first team) shirt on Wednesday.
Tummala, a reserve in his days at Arizona State, is anxious to show what he can do. “I’m ready,” he said.
“I’m excited. It’s been a long time since I played,” Tummala said. “I’ve been working hard all summer. We’ve been working hard all preseason. It’s always fun, especially playing an in-state rival and there’s a (couple) people on the team I know pretty well. One of them (James Harper) was my high school teammate and the other one (Kiran Shastri) I had the opportunity to do a serviceship with this summer, so it’ll be fun to compete against them.”
The perimeter-oriented Silverswords return three of their top four scorers from last season’s 12-14 campaign: guards Kuany Kuany, Kevin Hu and Shastri. They lost all-conference guard Lee Bailey. Coach Eric Bovaird really likes his depth, but conceded he’s probably got one of the smallest teams in Division II.
Swingman Aaron Valdes, who dominated Chaminade last year in a 94-63 meeting at the Blaisdell, said he felt the team’s offense was ahead of its defense.
“Defense is coming along, but I think by Rainbow Classic we’ll be ready for defense,” Valdes said. “We’re not just running around, chasing the ball (like last year). They’ve given us where we need to be, certain spots at certain times. It’s a lot of work, but I think we’re working it out and getting better at it.”